The Children of Hurin
The Children of Hurin is a full-length novel of Middle-earth by JRR Tolkien, released in April 2007.
The Children of Hurin is the first full-length, cohesive novel of Tolkien’s created world of Middle-earth since the publication of The Silmarillion in 1977.
JRR Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien, who has edited and collected most of his father’s posthumous writings, spent nearly thirty years editing the incomplete tale of
and the other offspring of Hurin of the house of Hador.
The Lay of the Children of Hurin was one of the three great tales of the First Age of Middle-earth that first appeared, in shortened form, in The Silmarillion. The other two major tales of the First Age are:
- The Lay of Lethian - the tragic tale of Beren & Luthien
- Tuor and the Downfall of Gondolin
The "Narn I Chin Hurin" as Tolkien titled it in Sindarin, was begun in 1918 but never completed to the author's satisfaction.
Nonetheless, it was the most complete manuscript narrative of all of Tolkien's earlier work, and Christopher Tolkien set himself the monumental task of wading through his father's many handwritten drafts and versions and arranging them into a single, cohesive tale.
The story will seem familiar one to readers of some of JRR Tolkien’s other posthumously published books. The tale of Turin Turambar appears in various forms of completion in The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and The Lays of Beleriand.
The version of the tale in The Silmarillion is notably shortened, comprising less than thirty pages of the entire book and lacking in compelling narrative.
The version of the tale that appears in Unfinished Tales was the most complete version of the tale prior to this publication, weighing in at around eighty pages, but still lacking in details and the seamless "flow" that a reader expects from a novel.
The Children of Hurin gives a complete account of Tolkien’s tragic hero, Turin Turambar, his sister Nienor, and the rest of his cursed family.
The tale will likely seem a very dark one to readers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
For one, there are no hobbits in this book to lend their light, homely touch. This story takes place thousands of years before the events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
For another, Turin’s tale is a sad one full of misfortunes and travails. Turin’s father, Hurin, is captured by Morgoth, the Dark Lord, in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad ("Battle of Unnumbered Tears"). When Hurin will not give Morgoth the information he demands, Morgoth sets a curse upon his bloodline.
Thus, though Turin is a great warrior and of the bloodline of great heroes, everything he does turns to ill. Whether this is the result of Morgoth's curse or Turin own headstrong recklessness is left to the reader to determine.
There are many similarities between the tale of Turin and the Kalevala of Finnish myth, a collection of Finnish folk tales that Tolkien was intimately familiar with. The Kalevala served as a source text for many of Tolkien's writings and provided a wellspring of ideas for him throughout his life.
The The Children of Hurin appears with a new map by Christopher Tolkien and new cover and interior artwork by renowned Tolkien artist Alan Lee.
Christopher Tolkien’s role in the completion of this new novel is stated to be of an editorial nature only. According to an interview with Christopher Tolkien’s son Adam by the Spanish Tolkien Society :
"The Children of Hurin is entirely in the author’s words – apart from some very minor reworkings of a grammatical and stylistic nature"
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